A goal in the 100th minute from Reggie Lambe snatched all three points for Mansfield in a scrappy encounter against Yeovil at Huish Park tonight.
The Bermudan's header came right at the end of a lengthy period of stoppage time due to a head injury to Glovers keeper Artur Krysiak and was a bitter pill to swallow for a Yeovil side that had battled but often came up short on quality. The defeat, combined with a win for Newport at Wycombe and a point for Dagenham & Redbridge at York means the Glovers sit level with the Welsh side on goal difference alone.
Manager Paul Sturrock made two changes to the side that lost to Notts County at the weekend. Midfielders Wes Fogden and Matt Dolan dropped to the bench with Marc Laird and striker Shaun Jeffers replacing them, e latter going up top with Ryan Bird as the Scot reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.
Mansfield themselves, although sitting pretty in fourth place, had problems of their own with the heart of their defence ripped out after Saturday's loss at home to Bristol Rovers. Krystian Pearce and Nicky Hunt were serving bans from dismissals in that game and Malvind Benning's crucial element injury ruled him out long term as well.
It was a defender that came closest to opening the scoring on eleven minutes when Mitch Rose, brother of Tottenham star Danny, looped a cross in that nearly drifted in at the far post. Yeovil replied quickly with BIrd firing a fierce shot just over the crossbar from Harry Cornick's pass.
Blair Adams, signed on loan from Notts County today, earned himself a place in ref Charles Breakspear's notebook with a late challenge on Connor Roberts on eighteen minutes. A minute later, Yeovil had the clearest chance of the game yo take the lead but Jeffers header was off target from a superb cross by Roberts.
The game couldn't get going with constant stoppages for fouls and the quality of the game suffered as a result. Marc Laird and Jeffers were off target wi right footed efforts as the half closed.
As the second half opened, Krysiak bravely blocked Lambe's effort from point blank range with his chest as Mansfield, who made three substitutions in the first fifteen minutes after the break, started to get on top. One of the replacements, Chris Clements had a decent effort that was deflected for a corner and Roberts cleared another one off the line as the Stags seemed certain to take the lead before the Welshmen's intervention.
On seventy minutes came the incident that was to later prove decisive. Artur Krysiak sustained a nasty looking head injury which required lengthy treatment from Physio Mike Micciche and a shirt change too. Late on, Lambe burst through the Yeovil defence but fired wide before the late drama that sent Yeovil to a cruel late defeat.
Rose found some space down the right flank and crossed from near the corner flag; his cross found the unmarked Lambe in the box and he glanced home past Krysiak to send the 105 Mansfield fans into ecstasy. The time on the clock read 99 minutes 45 seconds and just a minute later, ref Breakspear called time on what was a bad night for Sturrocks Glovers.